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Outrage Over Quran Burning at U.S. Base; Romney Forced To Tweak Campaign; Scandal Grows for Outed Arizona Sheriff; Franklin Graham Questions Obama's Faith; The End Of Affirmative Action?; Supreme Court to Rule on Person's Right to Lie; Infants Caught in Syrian Bloodshed; Man Videotapes Being Shot

Aired February 21, 2012 - 17:00   ET



Happening now, outrage over an -- over -- after Islamic holy books are burned at an American military base in Afghanistan. Now the U.S. military is scrambling to control the damage.

Also, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear a racially-charged case that could be an election year blockbuster.

And the Evangelist, Franklin Graham, injects religious controversy into the presidential campaign. Details of what he said about the faith of Mitt Romney and President Obama.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world

Breaking news, political headlines and Jeanne Moos all straight ahead.

I'm Wolf Blitzer.


It's the kind of incident that makes the U.S. military appear at best insensitive and at worst hostile to Islam. Officials are investigating an incident at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan in which Muslim religious materials were burned, including copies of the holy book, the Koran. And now we're learning why those materials were destroyed.

Our Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr, has been investigating the story for us -- Barbara, what's the latest?

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, we have seen the video of the demonstrations that erupted outside Bagram Air Base. But now behind-the-scenes, we know much more about what led to all of this.


STARR (voice-over): Hundreds of angry Afghans furious at the news NATO burned religious materials, including copies of Islam's most holy book, the Koran, forcing the top U.S. commander, General John Allen, to apologize for the action.

GEN. JOHN ALLEN, COMMANDER, ISAF: These kinds of incidents, when they do occur, we will move quickly to correct them. We will move quickly to hold people accountable.

STARR: Allen's public explanation of what happened was brief.

ALLEN: Overnight, we received reports that there had been a number of religious materials that had been gathered at the detainee facility at Par 1. Those materials were inadvertently given to troops for disposition. And that disposition was to burn the materials.

STARR: CNN has learned the military was actually dealing with a security breach here at the prison. A military official tells CNN the material was removed from the prison library because of extremist inscriptions and a, quote, "appearance that these documents were being used to facilitate extremist communications."

Beyond the religious materials, other extremist literature was found, apparently published outside Afghanistan.

This incident comes weeks after Marines made this video, urinating on dead Taliban fighters, another desecration.

The U.S. knows these controversies undermine the military mission. The Obama administration was quick to apologize.

VICTORIA NULAND, STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN: It does not represent our values or our view of how the Koran ought to be treated.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We apologize to the Afghan people and disapprove of such conduct in the possible strongest terms.

STARR: Mishandling the Koran a sacrilegious act for Muslims, has sparked past violence.

In 2005, 15 people were killed in anti-US demonstrations when "Newsweek" published reports of a desecration. "Newsweek" later retracted the article.

TERRY JONES: Islam is of the devil.

STARR: Last year, Florida pastor, Terry Jones, head of a 30- person church, burned a Koran after weeks of public attention, even after then Defense Secretary Robert Gates called and asked him not to.


STARR: Now U.S. troops will be trained in the proper disposition of religious material.

But the deeper question, how did extremist literature get inside one of the most secure compounds in Afghanistan -- Wolf. BLITZER: A very, very sensitive important story.

Barbara, thank you.

The Defense secretary, Leon Panetta, by the way, was also quick to go on the record condemning the incident. In a statement he said -- and I'm quoting Panetta now -- "I apologize to the Afghan people and disapprove of such conduct in the strongest possible terms."

He added that he will review the investigation to make sure that it never happens again.

Now to the race for the White House. And Mitt Romney tweaking his campaign in Michigan, where he was once considered a shoo-in but is now locked in a very tight race with Rick Santorum.

Our senior correspondent, Joe John is -- Johns is in Detroit -- Joe, tell us, what did you see today out there on the campaign trail?

JOE JOHNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, this is really a change of course for Mitt Romney. He's spent a lot of time out there on the campaign trail giving speeches, talking about his business experience.

But today, at a big town hall, a question and answer session, he started talking a lot more about the social issues, all of this partly because he has to.


JOHNS (voice-over): Once upon a time, Mitt Romney looked like the inevitable nominee. But back in Michigan, a week out from the primary, he got introduced as an underdog.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me introduce the comeback kid.

JOHNS: A favorite son with a lot of money and organization now in a toss-up race in the state where he grew up. Here, he was empathizing with the people where his opposition to the auto industry bailout may have struck a nerve.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My heart break, in part, for what's happened across the state. You have suffered these last years. Michigan has gone through a one state recession, now a national recession. These have been tough times. I'm glad to see Michigan is coming back. It is coming back.

JOHNS: There was a lot that stuck out about Romney's visit to Shelby Township, Michigan, mostly about how he's trying to answer the home state threat posed by the Santorum campaign. Romney repeated some of his recent attacks on Santorum in the very same township where the former senator had visited only a few days ago.

ROMNEY: Rick Santorum is now just being seen for the first time in many -- in many homes. And -- and his background and mine are very different. I don't think Rick Santorum's track record is that of a fiscal conservative.

JOHNS: What stood out even more was that Romney was actually taking questions from a live audience. Santorum and Newt Gingrich do it all the time. A lot of the questions and answers were about the kinds of social issues that have lifted the Santorum campaign.

ROMNEY: I have fought for traditional marriage. My vice presidential nominee will be pro-life. Those are people who are called strict constructionists. They believe in strictly following the Constitution. I'm in that camp. I will make sure that we never again attack religious liberty in the United States of America if I'm president.


ROMNEY: Thank you.

JOHNS: It was a very different scene from only Monday in Ohio, when Romney had met with a handful of people at a medical supply company, given a speech and taken no questions.

In Ohio, it was clear, changes are coming to the campaign there, too, as Romney was naming a new state director in time for Super Tuesday.


JOHNS: Super Tuesday, of course, comes on March 6th. But even before that, Wolf, is the 28th of February. That is when both Michigan and Arizona will go to the polls -- back to you.

BLITZER: Both of these states clearly in play, although it wasn't supposed to be this way.

Are you getting any reaction, Joe, from the Romney campaign to our latest CNN/"Time" magazine -- CNN/"Time"/ORC numbers, which shows a real tight race here in Arizona; also, obviously, a very tight race in Michigan.

Both were supposed to be gimmes for Romney only a few weeks ago.

JOHNS: That's true, Wolf. And I have talked to some surrogates on the campaign trail who have always told me, quite frankly, and told me today that, in their view, this was going to be a very tight race, that Romney is prepared to go all the way to the convention, if he has to. The fact of the matter is, they didn't expect to -- to get a whole lot of breaks down through the stretch here -- Wolf.

That's what they say.

BLITZER: And they're not getting any breaks, that's for sure.

All right, Joe.

Thank you.

This important note to our viewers. Tomorrow night, the candidates -- the four final candidates will faceoff for the final time before the next round of primaries. Be sure to join us at the CNN Arizona Republican Presidential Debate, 8:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN. Our own John King will moderate.

There's another huge story unfolding here in Arizona right now, the scandal surrounding the Pinal County sheriff and Republican Congressional candidate, Paul Babeu.

He spoke at length with me yesterday, an exclusive interview right here in THE SITUATION ROOM, about being outed by a former boyfriend who says Babeu threatened to have him deported.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is more -- has more.

He's been watching this story unfold. And here in -- in the Phoenix area, all over the state, it's becoming a huge, huge story.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There's not anyone in this state not watching. The latest is that this drama in that desert is not open. There are calls now for the sheriff to be investigated.

And I spoke to Jose last night after your interview with the (INAUDIBLE). And there's one thing he said the sheriff had wrong. This is not about politics, he says. Jose says no one put him up to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And these allegations...

MARQUEZ (voice-over): It's a political scandal growing by the day. Sheriff Paul Babeu talked exclusively to Wolf Blitzer, trying to salvage his political career.

SHERIFF PAUL BABEU, PINAL COUNTY, ARIZONA: This is the most embarrassing. I've -- I've never defined myself by other than my service and my duty and what we should all be judged on in life. And we've all had relationships, as -- as is clear as day now. Now, this is national news, that I have had one, where he wanted to harm me.

And -- and now this has rolled out. And the timing of this is -- is more than coincidence, that nationally, that all of this stuff -- for years, all the media here in Arizona, all five TV stations, enemies of mine. People have gone to my chain of command in the military to report that I'm -- I'm gay, stuff that is my personal, private business.

And I'm not ashamed of who I am, because I've served my country. I've answered thousands of emergency calls as a police officer, life saving medals. I -- I served as an army officer in Iraq, commanded 700 soldiers in Yuma.

This question -- and it didn't matter if I was gay. And this is where now, they used this allegation, which I showed you proof. There is no proof not only of any of this...

BLITZER: And he's...

BABEU: -- it didn't happen.

MARQUEZ: Babeu taking on allegations he threatened to deport his former boyfriend, Jose, who does not want to be identified.

(on camera): Do you think he was trying to make you leave the country?

JOSE: He just, what I think he just want me to keep me as far as so I don't say anything about him or about his behavior.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Babeu says he never threatened anything and it was Jose who hacked his Twitter account, posting slanderous material, a claim Jose says is false.

(on camera): But the problem for Sheriff Babeu may only just be beginning. His political opponents here in Pinal County are now calling for an investigation.

(voice-over): Questions they're raising, did Babeu spend taxpayer money pursuing sex and did he abuse the power of his office?

BLITZER: You -- you're running for the Republican nomination...


BLITZER: -- for this Congressional seat.

BABEU: Absolutely.

BLITZER: Explain why you decided to step down as co-chairman of the Romney campaign here in Arizona, if -- if you've done nothing wrong?

BABEU: This has been trying to get rolled out by numerous political opponents. And now it has, under this slanderous, baseless attack. And then all of a sudden everybody reports it as if it was true, from this tabloid. And nobody has verified any of the facts.

I showed you evidence. This is the business I'm in.

If somebody -- if your next door neighbor called the police on you and said go and arrest Wolf, do you think I'm just going to come and arrest you?

No. I have to find out all the facts. I've got to ask questions.

You know, this is outrageous that this has been brought out because I'm a conservative Republican. And -- and now they think that somewhere there's hypocrisy because I'm gay. I've never worn it on my sleeve, like this is who I am.

MARQUEZ: If Babeu survives the scandal, he'll face the ultimate test when voters go to the polls next August.


MARQUEZ: Now, I spoke to Republican voters in Florence today, and this guy does have problems, Wolf. Even voters that worked on his sheriff's campaign, they're having second thoughts about him.

BLITZER: And so this is going to be a very sensitive issue.

Now, a lot of people have Tweeted me and asked me why does -- why is Jose insisting on being blurred, his voice being changed, we're not using his full name?

What's the explanation?

MARQUEZ: Yes, two reasons.

One, he is still in the closet himself. His family is fairly conservative, doesn't know that he is gay.

Also, Arizona is a conservative state. Strange things has happened here. And he's concerned for his personal safety if he comes out. He really doesn't know what's going to happen.

BLITZER: Miguel, good reporting.

Thanks very much.

I know you're going to stay on top of this story for us and our viewers.

Franklin Graham is sparking a political controversy, appearing to question President Obama's faith, calling him a son of Islam.

Also, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees to hear a politically and racially-charged case against the University of Texas.

Could it be the nail in the coffin for affirmative action across the United States?

Plus, a very disturbing report from inside Syria on some of the youngest victims of the government's ongoing slaughter of its citizens.


BLITZER: Jack Cafferty is here with the "Cafferty File" -- Jack.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Wolf, it is time for a change from change we can believe in. President Obama's re-election campaign looking for a new slogan to replace his 2008 mantras of hope and change. Reuters reports some of the contenders include, "Winning the Future, "Greater Together," and "We Don't Quit."

His campaign poster stills say Obama 2012, but surrogates have been road testing some of these other ideas. The campaign probably rule out the official new slogan until the president knows who the Republican challenger is going to be and that can take a while. But whatever slogan President Obama goes with, it needs to represent a new reality, if you will.

That includes high unemployment, economic insecurity, and the fact that Mr. Obama is no longer a Washington outsider. Senior campaign strategist, David Axelrod, insists the 2012 election is also about hope and change, even though those words may not be in the slogan. The branding of a presidential campaign is all about with connecting voters. President Obama hit the nail on the head last time around, but lightning doesn't always strike twice.

One of the best campaign slogans ever was Ronald Reagan's 1984 re-election slogan, "Morning Again in America." What's Mr. Obama up against? The republican slogans are highlighting their believe belief that the U.S. is on the wrong track under President Obama. Mitt Romney uses "believe in America."

Newt Gingrich has "Rebuilding the American Dream" plastered on his bus. And Ron Paul says "We Will Restore America Now."

Anyway, here's you're question, you have some fun with this, what would you suggest for President Obama's new campaign slogan? Go to, post a comment on my blog, or go to our post on the SITUATION ROOM's" Facebook page. Very important slogans -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I'd love to -- I'm anxious to hear what our viewers think, Jack. Thank you.

The son of the famed evangelist, Billy Graham, is making some controversial comments about Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, and President Obama when it comes to their faith. Speaking on MSNBC this morning, Franklin Graham said this about Romney who's a Mormon.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But he's said that he's part of the Judeo- Christian faith. Do you take him at his word on that?

FRANKLIN GRAHAM, SON OF BILLY GRAHAM: No, but, most Christians would not recognize Mormonism as part of the Christian faith.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, he is not a Christian.

GRAHAM: I'm just saying most Christians were not recognized Mormonism now. Of course, they believe in Jesus Christ, but they have a lot of other things they believe in too that we don't accept.


BLITZER: Graham went on to repeat a previous assertion that he believes President Obama was born a Muslim under Islamic law. Our chief White House correspondent, Jessica Yellin, is getting reaction from the White House -- Jessica.

JESSICA YELLIN, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, some are breathing new life into an old, even tired attack, on the president.


YELLIN (voice-over): It's like a flashback to the lowest moments of campaign 2008, though, Rev. Franklin Graham had an astonishing response on MSNBC when asked if he can categorically say the president is not a Muslim.

GRAHAM: I can't say categorically, because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama.

YELLIN: It would seem challenging President Obama's faith is roaring back as a strategy in campaign 2012. First, GOP candidate, Rick Santorum said --

RICK SANTORUM, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is what the president's agenda. It's not about you. It's about some phony ideal. Some phony theology, oh, not a theology based on the bible --

YELLIN: Later on CBS, he insisted --

SANTORUM: I believe the president is Christian. He says he's a Christian, but I'm talking about his world view.

YELLIN: But then on Fox said --

SANTORUM: He went to Reverent Wright's church for 20 years. I mean, now, you can question what kind of theology Reverend Wright has, but to Christian church --

YELLIN: The president has seen this line of attack before and frequently asserts --

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You know, I am a devout Christian. I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me.

YELLIN: At this year's National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama spoke about meeting with the venerated evangelical leader, Billy Graham, Franklin Graham's father.

OBAMA: Rev. Graham started praying for me as he had prayed for so many presidents before me. And when he finished praying, I felt the urge to pray for him.

YELLIN: Franklin Graham was present at that visit.

BURNS STRIDER, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN VALUES NETWORK: It's about politics. It's not about faith. YELLIN: A Democratic faith and values strategist believes questioning the president's religion is intended to engage certain dispirited voters.

STRIDER: The leaders and candidates just play more and more and more to the edges and to the fringe and then try to motivate them together.

YELLIN: Asked about Rev. Graham's comments, the White House tried to stay above the fray.

JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I did meet with the president this morning for about 45 minutes, and amazingly, he didn't bring this up, because he was actually talking about policy issues that he believes are the most important things he can do and he focus on as president.

YELLIN (on-camera): This isn't the first time Rev. Graham has questioned the president's Christian faith. In recent years, he's raised doubts about Rev. Wright's church and the president's heritage, but he also says that if the president says he's a Christian, which he does, he'll believe him.

Jessica Yellin, CNN, the White House.


BLITZER: So, could the days of affirmative action here in the United States be numbered? Our own Jeffrey Toobin is standing by next.

And almost everyone has told a small lie or two, but telling a big lie can get you arrested. The U.S. Supreme Court will now decide just how big a lie has to be before it's a crime.


BLITZER: The United States Supreme Court will hear a case that could mean the end of affirmative action in the United States. The case started when a White student's application was rejected from the University of Texas back in 2008.

She then sued the school over the school's race conscious admissions policies, and now, it's in the hands of the high court to decide if those policies violate the rights of other applicants.

So, let's discuss all of this with our senior legal analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, a real authority on the Supreme Court. When I heard about this, given the make up of the Supreme Court, Jeff, the first thing that went through my mid is, potentially, this could be the end of affirmative action on college campuses, but I don't know how you reacted when you heard that the Supreme Court was going to hear the arguments.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Wolf, I reacted the exactly the same way. In 2003, the court in a decision by Sandra Day O'Connor said race may be used, at least, for the next 25 years as one factor in admissions, but this case is a direct challenge to the decision from 2003, and the court is a very different place.

O'Connor is out. Samuel Alito is into that seat. Even more significantly, Elena Kagan is recused from this case, so there are only eight justices. It looks to me very likely that the court will say, race can no longer be used as a factor in admissions at public universities.

BLITZER: Now, will this supply only the public universities or is there a broader application, not only in schools and universities, but in other institutions across the country as well?

TOOBIN: Well, certainly, this case would only deal with the question of public universities, but you know, the cord builds on its previous cases. And if the justices were to say that race is simply an illegitimate factor to be used by a government entity, that certainly could be expanded to any sort of hiring by the government, or potentially, even private parties.

That's why this case is so significant, because -- well, first of all, public universities are a big part of American life, but even beyond that, the logic would suggest that their -- that affirmative action would not be allowed at all, but this case just feels with public universities.

BLITZER: Well, with Elena Kagan recusing herself, as you point out, there are eight justices who will consider this. What if it comes down to 4-4, the outcome? What happens then?

TOOBIN: Four to four means the lower court opinion is upheld. And the lower court opinion said that affirmative action was allowed. The lower court has to follow previous Supreme Court opinions. The Supreme Court can change its precedents, lower courts can. So, a 4-4 would be a tremendous win for affirmative action.

But if you look at the five justices, Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Scalia, Justice Thomas, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Alito, all of them have indicated a good deal of skepticism for affirmative action, and that's five votes. That's all you need, and it really does look like the affirmative action program, at least at the University of Texas, is in a lot of trouble.

BLITZER: Justice Kennedy, are you saying that he almost certainly will join the other conservative justices on a decision like this, because he normally is one of those swing votes on the Supreme Court?

TOOBIN: He is usually the swing vote, but on these issues, for example, in the Grider (ph) case from 2003, the case -- Justice O'Connor's opinion, he was a dissenter in that case. He has almost always voted against affirmative action plans. So, you know, he's sometimes a swing vote, but on this case, I don't think -- at least historically, when it comes to affirmative action and civil rights generally, he's generally been with the conservatives.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, thanks very much. A very, very significant decision by the Supreme Court to hear these arguments in the coming weeks and months. Appreciate it.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is also preparing to rule on a very unusual free speech case. At issue, whether or not the Constitution protects a person's right to lie.

CNN's Kate Bolduan is following this story for us.

A fascinating case, Kate. It involves a politician lying about his military record. Tell us what's going on.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's very emotionally charged. And, you know, as we all know, lying may not be good, but when is it criminal? That's really at the center of this highly-charged First Amendment fight now before the high court.


BOLDUAN (voice-over): When Xavier Alvarez ran for a local California utility board, he campaigned on his military service. Not only a Marine for three decades, but even the military's highest award for combat bravery.

XAVIER ALVAREZ, RAN FOR CALIFORNIA UTILITY BOARD: I'm a retired Marine of 25 years. I retired in the year 2001.

Back in 1987, I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. I got wounded many times by the same guy. I'm still around.

BOLDUAN: Here's the catch: Xavier Alvarez was lying. He never was in the military.

Bob Kuhn says Alvarez hurt the board's credibility.

BOB KUHN, THREE VALLEYS MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT: He liked about the fact that he had been in three helicopter crashes, he had been shot 15 or 16 times, the graduation from school. These were all things that he put down on literature to get elected.

BOLDUAN: Alvarez' lies eventually caught up with him. He was prosecuted under a federal law called the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime to falsely claim military honors. His attorneys appealed and the case is now before the Supreme Court.

The issue, when does lying cross the line and become a crime?

Doug and Pam Sterner, who pushed for the law, say lying about military honors goes too far.

DOUG STERNER, SUPPORTS STOLEN VALOR ACT: It's impersonation. On this memorial it says, "Uncommon valor with a common virtue." Well, conversely, we could say, "Among thieves, stolen valor is a common lie."

PAM STERNER, SUPPORTS STOLEN VALOR ACT: When someone claims that they have a Purple Heart, they're actually devaluing the sacrifice that that particular person made. BOLDUAN: But Alvarez' attorney argues no matter how offensive, his lies are protected free speech.

JONATHAN LIBBY, ALVAREZ' ATTORNEY: If the court were to uphold this law, then it's certainly possible that Congress could pass all sorts of laws. It could make it a crime to just tell a lie on your Facebook page or on dating Web sites, and it doesn't have to necessarily be a serious lie and it doesn't necessarily have to harm anybody.

BOLDUAN: Alvarez maintains his lies hurt no one.

LIBBY: What it comes down to is Mr. Alvarez has so much respect for the troops, that he wanted to be one and wanted to be looked at an someone who does good things.

BOLDUAN: It's an emotional battle, pitting free speech against protecting the honor of battlefield bravery.


BOLDUAN: Now, the justices have traditionally protected even the most unpopular speech such as protesting at military funerals or burning a flag. Oral arguments for this particular case are tomorrow and will be very interesting.

The ultimate solution though to this stolen valor issue may be more high tech, actually. Congress is considering creating a national database of military award recipients to ensure that the right men and women are honored, and as in this case, Wolf, the frauds exposed.

BLITZER: That would be a practical solution, no doubt about that.

Kate, thanks very much.

Let me bring Jeffrey back into this conversation.

What do you think about this case now going to be argued before the Supreme Court, Jeff?

TOOBIN: You know, it's a fascinating case. And I've been following it, but I had never heard Alvarez's actual words. I thought Kate's story was so interesting. So you could actually hear him lying.

You know, I think the court is going to overturn this law. They are really very protective of free speech. And the lies that are illegal have consequences.

Like, if you lie to the Veterans Administration to get benefits, that's a crime. If you lie to the FBI in a criminal investigation, that's a crime. But if you just lie, that's a slope that I don't know if the court wants to go down.

You know, one of the lower court judges said, look, are we going to prosecute people -- are we going to prosecute dentists for saying, "This won't hurt a bit"? Are we going to prosecute people on JDate for saying they're Jewish if they're not Jewish? I mean, you know, you have to be careful about what you criminalize in this country. And I think the Supreme Court is going to say let the market of ideas figure this one out, let's not put people in jail for it.

BLITZER: I think you're right, Jeff, but we'll see what they decide. You never know.

TOOBIN: It's a great case.

BLITZER: Jeffrey Toobin, appreciate it very much.

The tough talk from Iran is escalating. You're going to see why they're now saying they won't wait necessarily for the enemy, in their words, to strike first.

And a man is allegedly shot by his mother-in-law, and he manages to capture it all on his iPhone. We have the real story behind the viral video which is not what she told 911.



BLITZER: A quick warning before we air this next story. Some of the images we're about to air may be very disturbing and inappropriate for some viewers.

The International Red Cross is calling on Syria's government and the opposition fighters to agree to a cease-fire so it could help distribute provisions to civilians. Opposition sources say more than 100 people were killed today again, at least 10 of them children.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the story of one of the youngest victims.

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, day in, day out, we hear numbers of dead in Syria, almost hard to fathom, specifically from Homs, where much of this artillery has landed. But today we have a particularly distressing case, a 2-year-old boy, it seems, killed by shrapnel in the last few days. Deeply troubling pictures of how he died.


WALSH (voice-over): Of the many infants to die in Homs, few have had their death so awfully public. This 2-year-old killed by shrapnel. Shells still heard falling around him and his father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My baby, my baby, my baby. I will avenge your death, I swear. I will avenge your death, I swear.

My son, what did you do? Who did you hurt?

WALSH: No one could tell us his name, but another clip shot earlier shows the frustration of doctors unable to deal with the injury onto the young boy's arm. The images are graphic. The doctor clearly feeling powerless.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This child needs to go to a proper hospital! Even the children are not allowed to get there. Where is the Red Cross that was negotiating yesterday?

WALSH: He struggles to breathe. They move to resuscitate, but fail.

Shelling Tuesday in Homs was the worst yet. Children caught in this barrage and its devastation suffering the hardest.

DR. UNNI KRISHNAN, HEAD OF DISASTER RESPONSE, PLAN INTERNATIONAL: Children are particularly vulnerable in armed conflict situations. Many of them are separated from their families, they often lose their parents, and conflicts leave lasting impacts on children both physically and emotionally.

WALSH: Some will survive their injuries. Yet, in this horror, many should have but did not.


WALSH: Wolf, while we can't independently verify what you have just seen, it does form part of a pattern, many stories we hear about the loss of civilian life there. The U.N. saying what they believe has happened inside there is almost certainly a war crime. This body of evidence growing that really civilians, particularly children in this tragic case, appear to be bearing the brunt of the Syrian army offensive -- Wolf.

BLITZER: Nick Paton Walsh reporting for us. What a story.

Thank you.

Opposition sources put the death toll in the Syrian conflict since last March at almost 9,000 people. CNN cannot independently verify opposition or government reports on casualty figures.

A man is apparently shot twice by his mother-in-law even though she tells a 911 operator that he shot her.


CHERYL HEPNER, SHOT SON-IN-LAW: 911, somebody just shot at me!

911 OPERATOR: What's your address?

HEPNER: He's outside!

911 OPERATOR: OK. Do you know this person?


911 OPERATOR: OK. Stay on the phone with me, ma'am.

HEPNER: He just shot me. 911 OPERATOR: He shot at you or shot you, ma'am?

HEPNER: I'm hurt. I don't know. I'm not shot, but he said that I shot at him, and he shot at me.



BLITZER: Stunning video from Florida, where a man used his iPhone to capture himself being shot by his mother-in-law.

Lisa Sylvester is back.

Lisa, you've been following this story for some time and you spoke to the victim here. Tell us all about it. What's going on?

SYLVESTER: Well, Wolf, the video has gone viral on the Internet. A woman allegedly shoots her son-in-law. And what she doesn't know is that he actually has his iPhone recording the incident. Well, now the victim tells his story to CNN.



SYLVESTER (voice-over): The video was chilling. Salvador Miglino is shot twice, all of it captured on his cell phone

SALVATORE MIGLINO, SHOT BY MOTHER-IN-LAW: I can't believe you did that! I can't believe you did that! What are you, crazy? I can't believe you shot me!

SYLVESTER: The alleged shooter is this woman, 66-year-old Cheryl Hepner, Miglino's mother-in-law. Miglino and his wife are in the middle of a nasty divorce and custody battle.

When he went to pick up his son for a weekly visit last December, his son wasn't there, but his mother-in-law was. Now Miglino is finally talking about what happened that day. He shows us where the bullets entered his body.

MIGLINO: The bullet came here and then the bullet came into my arm.

SYLVESTER: After being shot, Miglino says he fell on his mother-in- law and wrestled the gun away from her.

HEPNER: Get off me!


HEPNER: Get off me!

MIGLINO: You shot me!

I was scared. You know, I mean, someone's trying to kill me. I had to protect myself. I wanted to live.

SYLVESTER: You may wonder why Miglino turned on his iPhone camera. He says he was bracing for a confrontation, and adds his wife's family members had told lies about him in the past. A smart move when you consider what happened next.

Cheryl Hepner called 911 and puts the blame on her son-in-law.

HEPNER: Somebody just shot at me.

911 OPERATOR: Did he pull the gun on you or you pulled the gun on him?

HEPNER: No, he pulled it on me and he's got it. And he drove away.

SYLVESTER: At the same time, Miglino was speaking to another dispatcher.

MIGLINO: Oh, my God. I'm shot.


MIGLINO: I took the gun away from her. I have it.

911 OPERATOR: Where are you shot?

MIGLINO: On my shoulder and my side. I can't believe she shot me!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sal says he has an angel on his shoulder, and I have to tell you, had he not turned the way he did quickly enough, he would not be here.

SYLVESTER: Hepner now faces an attempted murder charge. Her attorney issued a statement declining to talk about the specifics of the case but saying, "Ms. Hepner is distraught over this incident and the circumstances leading up to it, as well as being sorry that Mr. Miglino was shot."


BLITZER: Cheryl Hepner has a court date set for March 16th, and Hepner's husband was charged as an accessory, but he died from cancer last month. Investigators are also looking into any role Salvatore Miglino's wife might have had in this incident -- Wolf.

BLITZER: She could be -- if she's convicted, she goes to jail for what, attempted murder? Is that right?

SYLVESTER: That's right. She's facing attempted murder charges right now. And, of course, authorities have that video, and it all goes back to the video. So you can expect that this will play prominently in this case -- Wolf.

BLITZER: It certainly does. What a story that is.

All right. Thanks very much for that, Lisa. Let's go back to Jack. He's got "The Cafferty File" -- Jack.

CAFFERTY: Some family, huh?

The question this hour is: What would you suggest for President Obama's new campaign slogan? Apparently, he's looking for a new one for this run for a second term.

Simon writes, "'Give me the rest of your change. We've got $15 trillion in debt to pay off.'"

Tom in Atlanta, "How about a little Willie Nelson? 'If you've got the money, honey, I've got the time.'"

Roy in Jacksonville, "'Forward we go. Socialism, here we come.'"

Matt, "Jack, 'Change we can really believe in this time.'"

June writes, "That's easy, 'One and done.'"

Riley writes, "I would use something like, 'You don't really want the other guy. He's way worse than me.'"

Beth writes, "He ought to sing 'Let's Stay Together.'"

Liz on Facebook, "'Give me four more years. We can be just like Greece.'"

Ed writes, "'Not as crazy as the Republican candidates.'"

Bonnie in New Jersey, "'Change we need to stuff down the Republicans' mega-rich corporate-loving throats.'"

David on Facebook, "'Broke. Ran out of change.'"

And Gilbert offers three: "One, 'Four more years.' Two, 'Obama got us Osama.' And three, 'I'm not Mitt Romney.'"

If you want to read more about this -- we got a lot of other e-mails, suggestions -- go to my blog,, or through our post on THE SITUATION ROOM'S Facebook page.

I'll bet he doesn't use any of those -- Wolf.

BLITZER: I think you may be right, Jack. Thanks very, very much. See you tomorrow.

Look at this. The husband of the Finnish president, the president of Finland, caught on camera checking out a princess. Yes. Jeanne Moos will have a most unusual story.


BLITZER: It certainly could be a rather awkward moment when a man's caught gazing where his eyes shouldn't necessary be lingering.

Here's CNN's Jeanne Moos.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Did the husband of Finland's president get caught sneaking a peek at a gala? Sure, it happens to teenage boys with raging hormones. One minute you're zoning out while zooming in, in math class. The next minute --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So "I" is an imaginary number.

MOOS: -- you're nabbed. But this was the husband of Finland's president, seemingly ogling Princess Mary of Denmark.

The giveaway may be the guilty look up to the ceiling as she covers her bosom, though maybe he was just inspecting her jewels. At least the princess didn't tell him to focus as singer Nicole Scherzinger did to Conan.

NICOLE SCHERZINGER, SINGER: They asked me to be a guest judge -- focus, Conan.


CONAN O'BRIEN, "CONAN": Let's be real here for a second.

SCHERZINGER: Speaking of -- speaking of --

O'BRIEN: You didn't think I was going to look down there?



MOOS: Poor guys, betrayed by even a subtle lowering of their eyelids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My eyes are up here, Donny. Bring it up. Bring it up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think if a woman is going to show cleavage like that, a man is allowed to look.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But this is a girl's best accessory.


MOOS (on camera): Up, up, up.

Pictures can make guys look boobs even when they're innocent.

(voice-over): Remember President Obama's tail to the chief moment?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's causing quite a buzz.

MOOS: There was the president at a summit.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Giving a young woman a serious once-over. MOOS: But when "Good Morning America" showed video of the same instant --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems to be a little different story. Obama may be watching his footing.

MOOS: You can't blame guys for lowering their gaze when this year's "Sports Illustrated" swimsuit cover model challenges them in a Web ad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think you could beat people in a staring contest? Remember, eyes up here. Ready? Stare.

MOOS: For 45 seconds, try to get your eyeball to resist the magnetic pull of cleavage.

Perhaps the best advice about cleavage came from Seinfeld after George got busted.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get a good look, Costanza?

JERRY SEINFELD, ACTOR, "SEINFELD": Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don't stare at it. It's too risky. You get a sense of it, then you look away.


MOOS: Though unlike cleavage, the problem with looking at the sun is the naked eye. The eye is naked.

Jeanne Moos, CNN --

O'BRIEN: My God! I just threw my neck out!

MOOS: -- New York.


BLITZER: That's it for me. Thanks very much for watching.

I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

The news continues next on CNN.